BMW Kicks Off Second-Life Battery Project in UK

BMW has joined the push to commercialize its BEV’s batteries with a second-life project in the UK.

Naturally, the move to find a second-life for depleted lithium-ion batteries pioneered by Nissan, has the double incentive of helping to maintain residual values of older low range BEVs plus adding revenue potential from finding a second use for the units. So BMW has partnered with energy provider Off Grid Energy to create a sustainable, second-life solution for BMW and Mini BEV batteries. The pair plan to create mobile power units for use instead of generators on construction sites and in remote rural areas.

At the moment, the automaker’s lithium-ion batteries have a warranty of eight years or 100,000 miles. It claims that after this period the battery could still retain up to 80% of its initial capacity. However, it is inevitable that at some stage, the battery will no longer function at an optimum level for the car but it can continue to serve a ‘secondary use’ purpose as a mobile power source.

The first prototype unit is now up and running, powered by lithium-ion battery modules extracted from a Mini Electric development vehicle. It has a 40kWh capacity delivering a 7.2kW fast charge and will be used at BMW and Mini UK events over the next year. BMW says that as more battery modules become available over time, systems will be built with a capacity of up to 180kWh and able to provide multiple charges at rates of up to 50kW.

Graeme Grieve, CEO BMW Group UK, said: “BMW Group will have 25 electrified models on the roads by 2023 – half of them fully electric. We are delighted to work with Off Grid Energy to find a sustainable way of continuing to use these valuable batteries, even after they have put in many years of service in our electrified cars.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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